Peakwork, a Düsseldorf-based travel technology company that builds distribution tools, has been expanding beyond its home region of Europe.
In the past half-year, the 200-person company opened its first office in the Americas -- in Cambridge, Mass. -- and its first office in Asia-Pacific -- in Singapore.
Since its founding seven years ago, the company has attracted famous-name travel clients (mostly catering to leisure travel), such as Google, which taps its services to help implement its hotel metasearch, and Lufthansa, which has hired it to help implement its direct booking effort.
Google, Kayak, TripAdvisor, and Trivago are live with advertisers on its platforms across 15 countries for hotels and flights for shopping and booking.
Peakwork creates distribution software that it licenses out to the travel value chain. It connects supply -- from dozens of airlines, package suppliers, hotels, bedbanks, global distribution systems (GDSs), and other sources -- with distributors, including tour companies (such as TUI), online travel companies (like Trivago), networks (like Expedia Affiliate Network), tours-and-activities platforms (such as Get Your Guide), and other distributors.
Peakwork takes a decentralized network approach, where the responsibility for data quality, accuracy, and production is on the supplier. It uses high-performance caches, in targeted, small-batch pulls, from what is essentially a complete mirror of the supplier's inventory system. Unlike GDSs, it has no look-to-book ratios or polling cost business models.
The use of caches lets a supplier cope with surges in traffic. The day layer in-between protects the core APIs from being hit directly. That's of particular appeal in Asia, where many suppliers would like to hook up to online travel agency funnels like CTrip but whose APIs struggle to handle the spikes in traffic using their existing integrations.
Cached data has an industry reputation for inaccuracy, but Peakwork claims better than 96 percent accuracy.
With a search response of less than 100 milliseconds, it meets the speed standard of Google. (Tnooz witnessed the fast speed during a recent demonstration of the network using some random searches.)
Peakwork's sales pitch is that larger clients can reach the entire network of supply through only two APIs, one for shopping and one for booking. That would let the brands get rid of the array of inventory integration and booking APIs, says Annika Kessel, SVP global business and managing director.
A client can host the technology itself or host it with Peakwork's partner IBM, says Kessel. For example, Lufthansa Holidays is a tour operator that hosts everything in the cloud.
Peakwork has amassed a databank of more than one million hotels. It says its "de-duping" technology removes repetitions of the same product fetched across multiple sources.
It has an attributes program, which assigns to properties up to 1,600 attributes for descriptors and amenities like "spa" or "restaurant." A case in point: Expedia Affiliate Network feeds attributes into the data before it goes out to suppliers via Peakwork.
Broadly speaking, hotel attributes data could be a useful overlay for a travel company looking to make relevant recommendations to consumers.
Kessel said Peakwork increases conversion for suppliers because the cached data enables high-speed performance over mobile devices, which is increasingly critical for transactions in some regions of the world.
The company also enables more flexible search options for consumer-facing interfaces. Its data, which can be fed into a travel brand's site, doesn't require a consumer to input time or destination preferences to run a search. That flexibility enables companies to create trip-inspiration searches on vaguer themes, such as regional searches across time spans ("Where can I go in Brazil for vacation for three weeks this year?")
Peakwork has been busy in its new overseas offices. In the Americas, the company says it has signed and launched in beta "one large US-based online travel agency." Tour operator groups and major airlines are also especially interested in its dynamic packaging tool, the company claims.
In Asia, it is close to announcing another major airline partner.